Chelsea will be missing Reece James this evening for their Premier League match against Southampton. football.london understands the England international has not travelled with the rest of the squad.
James has been a starter in each of Chelsea’s opening four Premier League matches – contributing a goal and an assist in those games. He is, however, now set to miss the trip to the Saints as the Blues look to make it back-to-back victories in the space of four days.
This comes as a setback to the 22-year-old Cobham graduate and Chelsea will have to cope without one of their brightest attacking talents.
Thomas Tuchel may now be forced to play either Cesar Azpilicueta or Ruben Loftus-Cheek at right wing-back. It looks likely that it will be Loftus-Cheek on the wing and then Azpilicueta as the right centre-back.
Missing James, though, will come as a huge blow for Chelsea. The right-back played an inch-perfect cross to Raheem Sterling on Saturday afternoon as the attacker netted his second goal of the game in the win against Leicester City.
Former Chelsea assistant manager Jody Morris was full of praise for James after the game. Speaking to Stadium Astro, Morris said: “He can play on the right-side of a back-three, right-wing back, right back or in the midfield.
“I used to joke with him that we could play him up front and he’d still produce pure quality. That’s what he is. He’s just a total footballer.
“We’re blessed in this country with great right-backs but he was the best player on the pitch today in the first half. His range of passing really came into play.”